Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Schools Not Tracking Undocumented Alabama Students

Bob Jagendorf / Flickr

Florida schools say they are not tracking whether the children of undocumented workers are enrolling.

Our colleagues at WUSF radio have looked into whether Alabama’s anti-illegal immigration laws mean migrant workers are moving to Florida and sending their children to schools:

Are students from Alabama ending up in Florida because of that state’s tough new immigration law? A news service reported that Florida’s educators were trying to answer that question.

But school officials say they’re not keeping count.

There are some anecdotal stories about migrant families from Alabama arriving in Florida’s tomato growing country several weeks early. Many say they’re fleeing the state’s more restrictive immigration law.

But there’s no statewide count going on of how many migrant children from Alabama are showing up in Florida’s classrooms, according to state education officials.

Earlier this week, the website Sunshine State News reported something different. It said a number of school districts across Florida have been advised to monitor enrollment numbers for Hispanic migrant families relocating from Alabama.

Amy Baker heads up Florida’s Education Estimating Conference. She says her group briefly discussed the Alabama situation at its last meeting, but decided not to try to track those numbers yet.

“We only would informally at this point. If we start hearing from school districts, we might start doing more than that, but other than that, we’re not doing anything,” Baker said.

Florida’s legislature considered and rejected its own immigration bill earlier this year, but its expected to come up again in January.


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